Wednesday, April 11, 2012
The Spanish-American war began with the sinking of the Maine which turned out not to have been attacked by the Spanish. The Lucitania was deliberately sent into German waters where it was blown up to get the US into WW1. Pearl Harbor was a deliberately provoked and allowed event for WW2, and then the non-existent Gulf of Tonkin incident started the Vietnam conflagration.
The mainstream media is not telling you the truth about unemployment in the United States. The percentage of working age Americans that are employed is not increasing. In March 2010, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job. In March 2012, 58.5 percent of all working age Americans had a job. So if the employment rate is exactly the same as it was two years ago, then how in the world can the Obama administration claim that things have gotten significantly better since then? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the official unemployment rate in the United States was 9.8 percent in March 2010 and it declined to 8.2 percent in March 2012. So how is this possible if the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs hasn't moved? Well, what they do is they claim that there are millions upon millions of Americans that have "left the labor force". In other words, they claim that there are millions upon millions of unemployed Americans that don't want jobs anymore. Of course that is a total farce, but the mainstream media and most Americans are buying it. They actually believe that the unemployment rate is going down. But the truth is that the unemployment crisis in America has not subsided. In fact, we are pretty much exactly where we were two years ago, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.
If you want to know the shocking truth about unemployment in America, all you need to do is to look at one chart. The chart posted below shows the change in the employment-population ratio over the past few years. What the employment-population ratio measures is the percentage of working age Americans that actually have jobs. As you can see, it fell dramatically during 2008 and 2009, and since then it has been hovering between 58 and 59 percent....
So there has been no employment recovery, and this is very odd because the employment-population ratio always bounces back after a recession.
The chart posted below shows how the employment-population ratio has changed since the late 1940s. The shaded areas represent recessions. Please take note that after every single recession (other than the current one) the employment-population ratio has always bounced back substantially.
During the most recent recession, the employment-population ratio fell farther than it had during any other recession in the post-World War II era.
If these were normal economic times, it would have been reasonable to expect a huge surge in hiring by now.
But we have not seen that.
Instead, the employment rate in the United States has been remarkably flat for more than two years.
So Barack Obama should not even begin to say anything at all about a "recovery" until the employment rate at least breaks the 59 percent barrier.
In the past I have written about how fraudulent the employment statistics put out by the federal government are.
Well, fortunately there are some folks up on Capitol Hill that are starting to take notice of this phenomenon as well. There is a new bill in Congress that wouldchange the way that the unemployment rate is calculated....
A Republican lawmaker is intensifying his push for legislation that would change how the government measures the unemployment rate.Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) intends to press GOP leaders to move his bill to include the number of individuals who gave up looking for work in the percentage of jobless claims.
Of course there is probably not a chance that such a bill would ever get through the Senate, but at least some lawmakers are trying to get people to notice what is going on.
The sad truth of the matter is that the employment crisis in America is still about as bad as it was a couple of years ago.
Do you remember a couple of months ago when Barack Obama spoke with the wife of an unemployed engineer and asked her to send his resume to the White House?
Well, it turns out that the unemployed engineer still doesn't have a job....
More than two months after President Barack Obama asked for Darin Wedel's résumé, the phone is quiet, e-mails are no longer flooding in and the long-sought-after job interviews -- which had begun to be scheduled -- have petered out."Not even recruiting companies are calling anymore," said Jennifer Wedel, the Fort Worth mother of two who chatted online this year with Obama about her out-of-work husband.She says his job search has been hurt by a program to hire skilled foreign workers.
But Barack Obama is doing the same thing on a national level.
He is promising all of us that things are improving and that there will be lots of jobs for everyone soon, but it is all a lie.
The truth is that this period of relative stability that has been purchased byunprecedented levels of government debt will soon give way to even moreeconomic trouble.
One of my readers recently brought to my attention a list of some of the major companies that are currently getting rid of workers....
Ford will be laying off 1,200 assembly line workers later on this month.
Pittsburgh-based paint and coating manufacturer PPG has announced that it will be laying off 2,000 workers.
J.C. Penney recently laid off 600 workers and has plans to lay off another 300 workers in July.
Lockheed Martin has announced that it will be laying off hundreds of workers.
Dow Chemical has announced that hundreds of workers are going to be laid off.
Yahoo has formally announced that it will be getting rid of about 2,000 workers.
Sony has announced plans to eliminate 10,000 jobs globally.
Even Oprah Winfrey is laying off workers. Oprah is reducing the size of the staff at the OWN network by 20 percent.
Meanwhile, our economy continues to bleed jobs at an astounding pace. At a time when American workers desperately need jobs, millions of them continue to be sent overseas.
In fact, even some jobs that you would think would be impossible to outsource are being given to foreigners. Just recently, ABC News did a major report on all of the roads and bridges all over the United States that are being built by Chinese companies. If you have not seen that report yet, you can view it online right here.
If you go into a Wal-Mart or a dollar store and you start turning over products you will find that huge numbers of them are made in China and that very few of them are made in the United States. China is absolutely dominating us on the global economic stage. Last year our trade deficit with China was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world. Yet we continue to pursue the exact same trade policies year after year.
So how is the American economy ever supposed to recover if we continue to play to lose?
As a nation we spend far more than we make, we consume far more than we produce and our federal government implements thousands of new business-crippling regulations every single year.
If you still have a good job, you should treasure it and you should try to hold on to it for as long as you can. Soon the next major economic downturn will be upon us and millions more Americans will lose their jobs and their homes.
Things did not have to turn out this way, but we made horribly bad decisions for decades and now the consequences are catching up with us.
You better get ready.
The greatest threat to the global economy has quickly shifted west to Spain. Spain’s stock market and big bank stocks continue to tumble. The benchmark IBEX 35 index is down 10 percent since Jan. 1 and nearly 30 percent over the past year.
The American Depository Receipts for Spain’s two biggest banks, Banco Santander and BBVA have fallen 11.6 percent and 13.1 percent over the past four weeks respectively. Both stocks are now down more than 40 percent over the past year. Yields on 10-year Spanish bonds are close to yielding 6 percent, and the cost to insure Spanish debt is nearing a record high.
Here’s the fear: Banco Santander, BBVA and the third largest bank in Spain,La Caixa, have combined assets of about $2.7 trillion. Spain’s GDP is just about $1.4 trillion.
In other words: Spain’s three biggest banks are nearly twice as big as the entire Spanish economy.
By contrast, America’s three largest banks by assets — JPMorgan Chase,Bank of America and Citigroup — have combined assets of around $6 trillion, or about 40 percent of U.S. GDP. If JPMorgan, Bank of America and Citi are too big and too systemically important to fail, what does that make Spain’s big three?
For this reason alone, Ben Bernanke and central bankers around Europe are right to be worried. Consider the difficulty the ECB, IMF and European Commission had in working out a bailout for Greece. Now multiply the economic problem a few times over and the scope of the growing Spanish crisis becomes clearer.
Spain’s economy is the 14th biggest in the world, nearly five times larger than Greece. Spain’s unemployment rate is a staggering 23 percent. That’s worse than the jobless rates in Mozambique, Micronesia or Equatorial Guinea and means there are nearly as many people without a job in Spain as there are working age people in Greece.
Spanish home prices continue to fall, corporate and personal bankruptcies are up, and Spain’s economy is contracting.
Put simply: Greece is papas pequenas (small potatoes) when compared to Spain. If Spain’s problems worsen and any of its big banks need a backstop or bailout, it is unclear where the money will come from. The bailout funds in Europe currently aren’t big enough to handle it and many I speak with aren’t optimistic the money could be easily raised.
One thing spooking markets Tuesday was a comment from the head of the Bank of Spain, who said if the economy contracts further than expected Spanish banks may need more capital.
Last week I wrote that $4 gasoline would not take down the macro American economy. It won’t, but given the interconnectedness of the global financial markets, one big, bad Spanish bank certainly could.
The Philippines said its largest warship was engaged in a tense standoff with Chinese surveillance vessels at a disputed South China Sea shoal, after the ship attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen but was blocked by the surveillance craft.
The Philippines foreign secretary, Albert Del Rosario, summoned the Chinese ambassador, Ma Keqing, to resolve the dangerous impasse diplomatically. Del Rosario's office said in a statement that the Scarborough Shoal "is an integral part of Philippine territory" and Filipino authorities would assert sovereignty over the offshore area.
The shoal lies off the north-west Philippine province of Zambales. China and the Philippines have been disputing ownership of the shoal, in addition to the Spratly Islands and other areas in the South China Sea.
Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the situation at the shoal "has not changed as of this morning. There's a standoff."
The department of foreign affairs said on Sunday, a Philippine navy surveillance plane sighted eight Chinese fishing vessels anchored in a lagoon at Scarborough, prompting the military to deploy its largest warship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which was recently acquired from the US.
On Tuesday, Filipino sailors from the warship boarded the Chinese vessels for an inspection, discovering large amounts of illegally collected corals, giant clams and live sharks inside the first boat, the department said in a statement.
Two Chinese maritime surveillance ships, identified as Zhonggou Haijian 75 and Zhonggou Haijian 84, later approached and positioned themselves between the Philippine warship and the Chinese fishing vessels, "thus preventing the arrests of the erring Chinese fishermen", the statement said.
Del Rosario protested to Ma, the Chinese ambassador in Manila, late on Tuesday and told her the Philippine navy would enforce Philippine laws, according to his office.
The Chinese embassy in Manila did not immediately comment. Chinese officials, who refer to Scarborough Shoal as Huangyan Island, have in the past asserted Chinese sovereignty over the area.
The Philippines refers to the shoal, a rich fishing ground, as Panatag.
Last year, the Philippines accused Chinese vessels of intruding into other parts of what it considers Philippine territory near the South China Sea, including the Spratlys. China has regularly dismissed the protests, saying Beijing has indisputable sovereignty over those areas on historical grounds.
The Spratly Islands south of Scarborough Shoal are claimed by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan. The chain of barren islands, reefs and coral outcrops are believed to be in rich in oil and gas and the overlapping claims have long been feared as Asia's next flashpoint for armed conflict.
The US, a defence-treaty ally of the Philippines, last year provided the Philippine navy with a refurbished coastguard cutter as part of efforts to shore up its naval defences.
Washington has insisted it takes no sides in the territorial dispute but says it should be solved peacefully. China has balked at what it considered a US interference in the region.
The disputes over the resource-rich Spratlys have settled into an uneasy standoff since the last major clash involving China and Vietnam, in which more than 70 Vietnamese sailors were killed in 1988.
Faced with China's formidable military, the Philippines and Vietnam have forged closer ties. Aside from military accords, the two countries agreed to set up a hotline between their coastguards and maritime police to monitor maritime incidents, such as piracy and incursions into their territorial waters.
The Philippine navy chief, Vice-Admiral Alexander Pama, said on Tuesday that Philippine and Vietnamese sailors agreed to play football and basketball matches in the islands they occupy in the Spratlys in a novel way to build trust in the contested region.
April 11, 2012 – INDONESIA – A massive earthquake struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Wednesday afternoon, triggering a tsunami alert for the Indian Ocean. The quake struck about 434 kilometers (270 miles) southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia’s Aceh province, and had a magnitude of 8.6, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It took place at a depth of 23 kilometers (14 miles). The massive earthquake was followed by a 6.0 in the north Indian Ocean and then a 8.2 earthquake near the main epicenter. The tremor revived fearful memories of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in the region in 2004 that killed tens of thousands of people. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Wednesday that it had issued a tsunami watch for the entire Indian Ocean, and the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said it had put up a tsunami warning. The Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said on local television that there were no reports of casualties or damage in Aceh so far. The areas most at risk of a tsunami are coastal areas of Aceh, particularly the island of Simeulue, Prih Harjadi, an official for the Indonesian geophysics agency said on Metro TV. The earthquake appears to have involved a horizontal movement rather than a vertical movement, so it is less likely that it will generate a tsunami, said Gary Gibson from the Seismology Research Center in Melbourne, Australia. He also said that the tremor took place a long way offshore and was therefore unlikely to have caused much damage itself. The power has gone out in Banda Aceh and residents are moving to higher ground, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency. The authorities in India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands have ordered people to move out of low-lying areas
Global stock and bond markets suffered a rout as traders fled the renewed spectre of a eurozone default and fresh evidence of a global recession.
Italy's leading MIB index plunged 5pc and Spain's Ibex fell 3pc amid fears that the eurozone's third and fourth biggest economies were in the grip of a deadly and uncontrollable spiral of debt and recession.
The borrowing costs of both "sinner states" soared. The yield on Italy's benchmark 10-year bonds jumped to 5.7pc, heading into the danger zone that is considered unsustainably high. The equivalent Spanish debt climbed to 6pc. Meanwhile, the yield on safe-haven German bunds was pushed to an almost record low of 1.6pc. UK gilts benefited, too, dropping to 2pc.
The yields reflected a level of fear on the bond markets not seen since the fraught period before Christmas when traders bet that the eurozone could collapse.
France's CAC index fell 3.1pc, Germay's DAX dropped 2.5pc and in London more than £33bn was wiped off the value of Britain's biggest companies as the FTSE 100 fell 2.2pc. In the US, the Dow fell 1.7pc - its worst day so far this year.
Traders returning from the long Easter weekend were initially reacting to poor Chinese trade data and gloomy comments about the recovery by Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve.
But alarm spread following reports that Italy would be forced to cut its 2012 growth forecasts, coupled with mounting concerns over Spain.
Business paper Il Sole said it had obtained a report showing that Italy's economy was likely to contract by between 1.3pc and 1.5pc this year - far more than Italian prime minister Mario Monti's 0.4pc prediction.
Miguel Ordonez, head of the Bank of Spain and member of the European Central Bank, was quick to try to blame Rome for the market turmoil. "In Spain there's a focus on the deficit; in Italy, unfortunately, the back-pedalling on the labour reform is creating an enormous anxiety," he said.
But the central banker admitted Spain needed more economic reforms and was "not likely" to see a strong recovery any time soon. He said the ECB's long-term refinancing operation - the bank's effort to inject €1 trillion into the economy - had merely bought the country some breathing space but cutting the deficit was still the main task.
Traders said Mr Ordonez's comments caused the widening spread of Spanish credit default swaps; the instruments sold to insure against a Spanish soveriegn default were close to a record reached in November.
Luis de Guindos, Spain's finance minister, refused to rule out a bail-out. "The Spanish economy is subject to very close monitoring," he said when questioned by reporters.
In Greece, where the start of the tourist high-season was paralysed by ferry strikes, Lucas Papademos is expected to call snap elections as early as today. The prime minister has scheduled a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias at 2pm GMT and is expected to call the elections for May 6 - the first since the eurozone debt crisis tore through the country in 2009.
The development of a new microchip for cell phones that knows the user’s location to within a few centimeters confirms the fact that contrary to biblical fears about mandatory implantable microchips, people have willingly exchanged their privacy for convenience and that the cell phone itself is the de facto “mark of the beast”.
“Broadcom has just rolled out a chip for smart phones that promises to indicate location ultra-precisely, possibly within a few centimeters, vertically and horizontally, indoors and out,”reports MIT Technology Review.
“In theory, the new chip can even determine what floor of a building you’re on, thanks to its ability to integrate information from the atmospheric pressure sensor on many models of Android phones. The company calls abilities like this “ubiquitous navigation,” and the idea is that it will enable a new kind of e-commerce predicated on the fact that shopkeepers will know the moment you walk by their front door, or when you are looking at a particular product, and can offer you coupons at that instant.”
Over 82% of Americans own cell phones, with around half of these being smart phones. In the near future, the majority of Americans will own smart phones that will have the ability to track their location down to a few centimeters.
With the effort to legally establish surveillance drones as a legitimate tool in domestic law enforcement, authorities could save a lot of time and money by simply requesting cell phone companies provide real-time tracking of suspects via their smart phones.
Indeed, Apple, Google and Microsoft have all been caught secretly tracking the physical locations of their users and saving that information to a file. How long is it before such data is instantly available to law enforcement bodies on demand, just as governments are legislating that ISPs and cell phone companies divulge our web browsing histories, email, texts and call information?
Biblical fears about the ‘mark of the beast’ being an implantable microchip forcibly injected into our foreheads have proven to be off base. Coercion was not necessary because people have been enticed into willingly giving up their privacy for convenience.
Indeed, paranoia about not being able to buy or sell without the ‘mark’ is now coming full circle with the increasing use of cell phones as payment gateways linked to credit cards.
Peer pressure and cultural brainwashing has also played a role – someone who doesn’t own a cell phone will find it almost impossible to operate in the modern world unless they live like a recluse or make a living by running a farm in the middle of nowhere.
The ‘Internet of things’ – where every appliance is connected to the world wide web – has been hailed by spooks as a green light for ubiquitous panopticon-style surveillance of the individual.
Broadcom’s new microchip will also make it easier for industry to accelerate plans to use Minority Report-style targeted advertising against consumers.
“The use case [for Bluetooth beacons] might be malls,” says Scott Pomerantz, vice president of the GPS division at Broadcom,. “It would be a good investment for a mall to put up a deployment—perhaps put them up every 100 yards, and then unlock the ability for people walking around mall to get very precise couponing information.”
The only way that technology can advance without destroying basic human rights in the process is if strong new legislation is passed increasing the penalties against both industry and government for using such technology to spy on users. However, the opposite is happening, with each new technological leap being dovetailed by aggressive efforts on behalf of the state to eviscerate what little privacy rights we have left.
The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources. Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran. Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran. “Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said.
“If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector. Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn’t believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary.
The implication of preparing to move Russian troops not only is to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of such an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces, or both. Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of “unpredictable consequences” in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military will take part in the possible war because it would threaten its vital interests in the region.
The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.” This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer. Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region.
The Extinction Protocol